Santa Rosa, CA – December 12, 2018 – District Attorney Jill Ravitch has announced that defendant Harman Management Corporation, which provides consulting services to restaurants such as Kentucky Fried Chicken/KFC, A & W and Taco Bell, has resolved a civil environmental enforcement case filed in Sonoma County Superior Court.
Harman Management, a Utah Corporation, agreed to pay $195,000 in costs and civil penalties for violations of environmental protection laws, including its failure to submit hazardous materials business plans for carbon dioxide at restaurants in Sonoma, Marin, San Mateo, San Francisco and Alameda Counties. Harman also failed to show evidence that it trained employees regarding responding to emergency releases of carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide is a colorless, odorless gas that can cause asphyxiation, and is used to carbonate beverages. Businesses, including restaurants such as KFC, must prepare a business plan to inform first responders what hazardous materials are on site, where they are located and show proof of employee training regarding unplanned releases.
District Attorney Ravitch stated, “Businesses should follow the environmental protection laws for the benefit of first responders and train their employees to respond to emergencies. If they don’t do it on their own, we will take action to protect the public and inform first responders.”
The civil case was filed after a Petaluma KFC/Taco Bell ignored repeated notices of violation issued by the Petaluma Fire Marshal for failing to submit a hazardous materials business plan for its store located on East Washington Avenue starting in January of 2015. The case was referred to Sonoma County’s Environmental and Consumer Law Division, which joined with District Attorney’s Offices in Alameda, San Francisco, San Mateo and Marin. After an investigation and Harman submitted its plans and showed employee training, a civil complaint was filed. Harman agreed to resolve the case with the payment of costs and penalties, the issuance of a permanent injunction, and to maintain proof of employee training for three years.
The case was prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Ann Gallagher White, assisted by District Attorney Investigator Mark Azzouni, with investigation from Fire Marshal Cary Fergus (retired) and Inspector Corinne Barclay (retired) from the Petaluma Fire Department.